William Henry Fisher, PhD

William Fisher

Title: Sociologist, Researcher, Educator
Location: Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, United States

William Henry Fisher, PhD, Sociologist, Researcher, and Professor Emeritus, has been recognized by Marquis Who’s Who Top Educators for dedication, achievements, and leadership in mental health research and policy.

Dr. Fisher is a sociology researcher and professor emeritus at the School of Criminology and Justice Studies at the University of Massachusetts Lowell with more than three decades of expertise in mental health and the criminal justice system. After earning a Bachelor of Arts in psychology at Clark University, Dr. Fisher realized that he was more interested in large-scale studies and academia than he was in a career as a clinical psychologist. He shifted his focus to sociology, completing his Doctor of Philosophy at Northeastern University in 1980, and remained at the university for the next four years as a senior research associate in a study on civil commitment laws. His work with Northeastern University led to a position as director of the Policy Research Group at the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health, where he continued his work on forensic mental health systems and policy. In 1988, Dr. Fisher was awarded a yearlong postdoctoral fellowship in health, medicine, and public policy at Harvard University, after which he became a member of the faculty in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. In 1991, he was named deputy director of the school’s Center for Mental Health Services Research, rising to director between 1993 and 1998.

After working directly with the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health, Dr. Fisher’s research at the University of Massachusetts continued to contribute to the state’s community health and mental health policy development throughout the 1990s. During this time, he leveraged his unique background to work directly with community health organizations, offering organizational oversight to Worcester Community HealthLink and serving as president of Shrewsbury Community Services. Dr. Fisher is a frequent speaker and presenter in his field, has contributed more than 100 articles to peer-reviewed journals and has served as principal investigator on studies funded by the National Institute for Mental Health, the National Science Foundation, and others. He is the editor of Research in Community and Mental Health, sits on the editorial board of the Journal of Criminal Justice and Behavior, and was named chair of the mental health section of the American Public Health Association in 2001. In recognition of his work on behalf of the organization and the field as a whole, Dr. Fisher was presented with a 2001 Mental Health Section Award from the American Public Health Association, a 2006 Commissioner’s Award from the Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health, and is a recipient of the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award. Outside his work, Dr. Fisher enjoys time spent outdoors and with his family and is an accomplished bassist and blues musician who was once invited to fill in with Chuck Berry’s backing band.


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